–Nigerian team banks on ranking to qualify from group stage
The Nigerian senior male national basketball team, D’Tigers have been drawn against former champions and host Tunisia in Group A at the draws for the 2015 FIBA Africa Basketball Championship which took place at the Carthage Acropolium in Tunis on Saturday.
D’Tigers who are now the 3rd ranked team in Africa (24th in the FIBA World rankings) will be hoping to roar past no 2 ranked Tunisia, who last won the competition in 2011. Also seeded in the group is a little known Uganda who are making their debut at the continental showpiece and the 1st of 3 wild card teams which will be announced at the end of April by FIBA Africa.
The tournament which will be held from 19-30 August in the Tunisian cities of Nabeul and Tunis will serve as a qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
In Group B, defending champions Angola who will be gunning for their 12th title under the watchful eyes of new but experienced coach Moncho Lopez , will battle against Mozambique, Morocco and another Wild Card entry.While Afrobasket 2013 runners up, Egypt will hope to go a step further than their fairytale run carried them in Abidjan as set up an interesting matchup against West African foes in Cameroon and Mali who threw up a suprise to qualify ahead of 2013 bronze medalist Senegal alongside Gabon makes up group C.
Meanwhile, the Elephants of Cote d’ivoire who dramatically ended up 4th at home in 2013 will have the Nigerian born Alex Uwora handled Cape Verde to battle against, debutant Zimbabwe and the 3rd wild card pick to compete against in Group D.
It will be recalled that this is the third time that Tunisia will get to stage the Afrobasket, having previously hosted it in 1965 and 1987.
Seven teams tabled bids for the 3 Wild cards available to the Tunisian showpiece. Amongst which are South Africa, Algeria, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Senegal, Congo and Guinea.